Grenfell Tower disaster commemoration in London


This video about London, England says about itself:

Remembering KHADIJA SAYE & the GRENFELL RESIDENTS

19 June 2017

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Memorial service to mark 6 months since fire tragedy

Thursday 14th December 2017

A MEMORIAL service to be held today for the 71 people killed in the Grenfell Tower fire will be an opportunity for “healing and truth,” bereaved relative Clarrie Mendy said yesterday.

Ms Mendy, whose cousin Mary Mendy and her daughter Khadija Saye died in the fire, helped organise the multi-faith service.

The service at St Paul’s Cathedral takes place on the sixth-month anniversary of the devastating fire.

Ms Mendy asked for the names of the 53 adults and 18 children who died to be read out.

She said: “I just hope this service reflects, I hope it resonates actually with people, with the hunger people have spiritually.

“A lot of people, right now there’s no trust in the government, a lot of people have more faith and trust in their religion.”

More than 1,500 people are expected to attend, around half of whom are bereaved families and survivors while the other half includes members of the North Kensington community, volunteers and first responders to the disaster.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Prime Minister Theresa May, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid and some members of the royal family are expected to attend.

Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon has criticised Ms May for refusing to create a diverse Grenfell inquiry panel as requested by survivors and their bereaved families in a petition handed to Downing Street on Tuesday.

He told the Star yesterday: “Nothing here in the UK so symbolises the indifference of powerful people and institutions to the lives of ordinary people as the Grenfell fire, the circumstances leading up to it and its aftermath.”

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Puerto Rican hurricane disaster, Washington neglect


This video says about itself:

The U.S. Leaves Puerto Ricans to Rot

13 December 2017

More than a thousand people have died in Puerto Rico due to failed infrastructure after this year’s hurricanes.

European Union helps torturing refugees in Libya


This video says about itself:

Libya’s slave trade – ‘They sell Africans over there’

28 November 2017

The world’s most vulnerable, fleeing war and poverty back home, are being abused and auctioned off as slaves – a shocking danger facing migrants and refugees in Libya.

It has been reported that hundreds of people are being auctioned in modern day slave markets in Libya for as little as $400.

Libya is the main transit hub for refugees and migrants attempting to reach southern Europe by sea. They are coming from countries like Nigeria, Eritrea, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Senegal, Sudan and Somalia.

The power vacuum in Libya after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi has made human trafficking and people smuggling a booming trade.

And the European Union’s renewed strategy to stop migrants and refugees travelling across the Mediterranean has led to more people being stuck in the north African country without money or food.

Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith reports.

By Alex Lantier:

Amnesty International report exposes EU role in mass torture of refugees in Libya

13 December 2017

In order to keep masses of refugees from reaching Europe, the European Union (EU) is helping build, fund and equip a vast network of prison camps in which refugees are arbitrarily detained, beaten, tortured, sexually assaulted, sold into slavery and murdered. This is the conclusion of a harrowing Amnesty International (AI) report published yesterday, titled “Libya’s Dark Web of Collusion.”

The horrific abuses detailed in the AI report are already well known. Protests erupted in North Africa, France and worldwide last month, after CNN broadcast videos of human traffickers selling refugees into slavery in Libya. However, AI’s extensively documented report, based on government documents and dozens of interviews with refugees, underscores not only the vast scope of this barbaric prison system, but the key role of EU technical and financial support.

Moreover, while the AI report says very little about NATO’s 2011 war in Libya, it makes clear that the origins of this prison system lie in the wave of imperialist wars across the Middle East and Africa and the ensuing global refugee crisis. The people-smugglers that operate prison camps in Libya are mostly militias that NATO backed against Gaddafi during the war, and that took power after NATO destroyed the Gaddafi regime.

This is a devastating indictment of the pundits, academics and pseudo left parties like France’s New Anti-capitalist Party or the International Socialist Organization in the United States that hailed the war in Libya as a humanitarian intervention to aid a democratic revolution. While they claimed that imperialist war would bring democracy and freedom to Libya, it brought slavery, rape and murder.

According to International Organization on Migration (IOM) statistics cited by AI, at least 416,556 refugees were trapped in Libya in September 2017. Of these, over 60 percent are from sub-Saharan Africa, 32 percent are from North Africa, and 7 percent from Asia and the Middle East. The EU is working with militias and criminal gangs to keep them in Libya.

The strategy was codified in the February 2017 Malta Declaration, in which the EU endorsed and vowed to support Italian cooperation with Libyan authorities against refugees. This involved funding, training and arming border guards and the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) to block refugee departures, and “upgrading and financing” so-called “reception centres” where refugees captured by the LCG are detained. Also, AI notes, the EU has “struck deals with Libyan local authorities and the leaders of tribes and armed groups—to encourage them to stop the smuggling of people.”

As a result, AI notes, refugee departures from Libya are collapsing: “In the first semester of 2017 a total of 83,754 people had reached Italy by sea, a significant increase over the same period in 2016, when 70,222 arrivals were recorded. However, the trend then changed dramatically: between July and November 2017 a total of 33,288 refugees and migrants arrived in Italy, 67 percent fewer than in the same period of 2016, when 102,786 arrived.”

With EU assistance, tens of thousands of refugees are being thrown into prison camps where they are subjected to beatings, torture and murder. Currently, AI writes, “about 20,000 refugees and migrants are detained in centres normally managed by the General Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration (DCIM)”, an EU-funded branch of the Libyan Interior Ministry. As Libya does not have a functioning judicial system since Gaddafi’s overthrow, AI adds, refugees are “deprived of any formal administrative or judicial means of challenging their detention.”

AI cites testimony from many refugees who escaped to Italy from camps in Libya. Mariam from Eritrea said the guards “were hard; they were drunk all the time. Then one day there were four Somalis who tried to escape. The Eritrean smugglers told us they killed them, three of them; the fourth [was] in the hospital.

“Then they beat the rest of the Somalis. [They were] getting tortured; you could hear the screaming. They used electricity and beat them with Kalashnikov [rifles].”

Samir from Sudan described how he escaped from the DCIM’s Nasser detention center, but his friends did not and were sold into debt bondage: “The electricity was out and there was no water, so they took us outside to gather water. Me and two other friends—we ran; they shot after us but we were fast. … The other three were bailed out by the Sudanese man and they have to work to pay off 4,500 Libyan dinars to the factory owner.”

Ousman from Gambia described a DCIM detention center in Tripoli: “I saw many people dying in prison, either because they fell sick or were beaten … Guards were Libyan—they used to beat everybody, without a reason. Before entering the prison, police search you and take away all money, phone, everything.” He added, “I saw one boy in the prison—they gave him a phone to call his family, and they beat him with a metal stick while [he was] on the phone, on arms and everywhere…after five months I escaped with other people, but the guards started shooting and many were killed. I don’t now how many were killed, but I saw some falling and screaming.”

Mohamed, a Bangladeshi steelworker living in Libya, said: “A group of Libyans came in the shop one day and said they had work for us. Three of us went with them. There were three of them. We got in the car with them. They told me to put my head down, and not look; they became aggressive. They took us to a place, next to a factory. When they took us inside, there were about 500 people, it was one big place filled with people. … They beat me with a metal rod; it broke my fingers [he showed deformed fingers on his right hand]. I have problems with my right leg also and my shoulder because of the beating. One guy was beaten to death in front of my eyes. I stayed there for 20 days. I then paid 2,000 US dollars to get out; my friends managed to collect the money.”

The NATO war in Libya and the country’s ensuing collapse into a bloody civil war are searing lessons in the reactionary role of imperialism. The EU’s foreign policy has emerged from the Libyan war completely criminalized, using the most barbaric methods to deny refugees’ right to asylum. The EU is complicit in the torture of refugees not only in that it provides support to DCIM to operate its semi-official prison camps in Libya; EU naval aid to train and arm the LCG, as well as deals cut with various regional or local militias that control prison facilities, also play a key role.

AI explains, “The LCG’s increased capacity, due to support from EU member states, has led to an increasing number of such pull-back operations. So far in 2017, 19,452 people have been intercepted by LCG and taken back to Libya. When the LCG intercept boats at sea, they bring refugees and migrants back to Libyan shores and routinely transfer them to DCIM detention centres.”

AI singled out a particular deal between Italy, the former colonial power, and influential warlord Khalifa Haftar: “Italian government representatives also discussed measures to reduce irregular migratory movements with Khalifa Haftar, the head of the self-styled Libyan National Army, which controls the east of the country. Haftar visited Italy on 26 September 2017 to meet with the Italian Ministers of Interior and Defence.”

Militarism and crackdown on refugees dominate EU summit: here.

British Conservative accused of rape


This video from Britain says about itself:

Conservative MP’s chief of staff ‘raped woman’

12 December 2017

Tory MP’s chief of staff, 24, ‘called Parliamentary worker in her 20s a b***h as he repeatedly raped her in his boss’s office her before she fled shaking and crying through corridors of Westminster’.

A Conservative MP’s chief of staff raped a woman in his boss’s office after calling her a ‘b***h’ when she rebuffed his advances, a court has heard.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Tory MP’s chief of staff raped woman in parliamentary office, court hears

Wednesday 13th December 2017

Craig Mackinlay‘s aide Samuel Armstrong stands accused

TORY MP Craig Mackinlay’s chief of staff raped a woman twice in his boss’s parliamentary office after repeatedly calling her a “bitch” when she rejected his advances, a court heard yesterday.

Samuel Armstrong, 24, is alleged to have attacked the woman, who was working for him as an intern, after drinking with her in the Palace of Westminster.

The South Thanet MP’s aide is said to have taken advantage of his victim, who is in her twenties, when she fell asleep.

The court heard that the pair had been drinking in the Sports and Social Bar within the Houses of Parliament with two other people.

Later in the night, Mr Armstrong and the woman then went to Mr Mackinlay’s office, in the Norman Shaw building, where he played jazz music on a laptop.

They sat and talked on a three-seater sofa, where she fell asleep, jurors heard. He then began kissing and touching the woman before asking her back to his flat.

But when she said “no” several times, Mr Armstrong repeatedly called her a “bitch” before taking off her clothes and assaulting her.

Prosecutor Mark Heywood QC said the woman asked: “What are you doing?” To which Mr Armstrong allegedly replied: “This is what you want.”

Mr Heywood said he raped her twice, adding: “In doing so, he abused his role and his position.

“She, in distress, walked and ran through the corridors of Westminster, eventually finding and telling cleaning staff what had happened.

“He went out another way, using his pass and sending her messages, one of which suggested that he was concerned and that she contact him if she had ‘any issues’”.

Mr Armstrong, from Danbury in Essex, denies two counts of rape, one of sexual assault and one of assault by penetration on October 14 last year.

The court heard that the woman suffered a number of bruises and abrasions to her genitals, arms and mouth, which were consistent with, but do not prove, the allegations.

Mr Armstrong worked as a volunteer activist for the Conservative Party while at university before joining Mr Mackinlay’s staff when he was elected in 2015.

He was arrested at 5.39am on October 14 2016. …

The trial, which is expected to take two weeks, continues.

‘Prosecute Saudi royals for Yemen war crimes’


This video from the USA says about itself:

Amnesty International Reveals the Bomb That Killed 16 Civilians in Yemen Was Made in the U.S.A.

22 September 2017

A major new investigation by Amnesty International reveals a bomb that killed 16 civilians in Yemen’s capital last month was made in the U.S.A. Among the survivors was 5-year-old Buthaina, whose photograph went viral in the aftermath of the strike. She lost her entire family in the strike.

Amnesty International’s arms expert analyzed remnants of the weapon and found clear markings that matched U.S.-made components used in laser-guided, air-dropped bombs. Coalition airstrikes continue to be the leading cause of child casualties, as well as overall civilian casualties. The latest finding by Amnesty comes as some European Union countries recently tabled a motion at the U.N. Human Rights Council calling for an independent inquiry into human rights abuses committed by all sides in the conflict. The U.N. high commissioner for human rights has called the humanitarian crisis in Yemen an “entirely man-made catastrophe.” We speak with Raed Jarrar, the advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Human Rights for Yemen seeks war crimes prosecutions over Saudi atrocities

Wednesday 13th December 2017

Bloody war by Saudi-led coalition should see perpetrators punished, says Britain-based group

YEMENI rights activists announced yesterday that they are applying to the Attorney General for states and officials involved in the Saudi-led coalition to be prosecuted for war crimes.

According to the UN, war-riven Yemen has been brought to the brink of starvation because of the coalition’s blockade, its infrastructure wrecked by a devastating air bombing campaign that has lasted more than two years.

The British-based Human Rights for Yemen group is seeking to hold the Saudi Arabian, UAE and Qatari regimes and their officials to account in British courts.

Director Kim Sharif said: “The UK has a moral and legal duty to uphold the rule of law.

“The government has willingly ignored the atrocities that have been inflicted on the people of Yemen and has been totally complicit in the destruction.

“We believe that Saudi forces are committing war crimes and violating the Geneva Convention.

“We are calling for this to be investigated immediately and are confident that there is jurisdiction to bring such proceedings in UK courts.”

According to the Campaign Against Arms Trade, the British government has licensed £4.6 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since its ongoing assault against Yemen began in 2015.

More than 2,000 schools and educational centres have suffered air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition according to evidence gathered by the Legal Centre for Rights & Development based in the Yemeni capital Sanaa. This amounts to thousands of war crimes, Human Rights for Yemen says.

More than 20 million people are dependent on aid, according to International Committee of the Red Cross, and Unicef figures show that 130 children die per day due to malnutrition and disease.

Nearly a million people have been affected by an ongoing cholera epidemic largely attributable to the destruction of the country’s infrastructure and schools, hospitals, homes, mosques, heritage sites and newsrooms have been destroyed in the bombardment and funerals, weddings and other civilian gatherings targeted.

Earlier this month an air strike on the building of the national TV station al-Yemen al-Yowm in Sanaa resulted in several journalists being killed according to Almasirah, Yemen’s Houthi rebels’ TV channel.